Sitting in front of the computer while pondering the details of a potential weekend trip to Europe for an old friends wedding, I opened up a Dove chocolate piece with a message that said: “Book the plane ticket”. I don’t always rely on the universe to tell me what to do, but in this case, I took the advice even if going to Italy, Austria, and Slovenia for a weekend sounded absolutely crazy. Let me start by mentioning that I am the furthest I could possibly be from being rich. I am, however, very frugal and tend to spend my money on travel rather than things like the internet or cable. Check out my previous posts Traveling On A Budget for some tips on how I manage to make these adventures happen or The Best Credit Card For Travel for how I save money and utilize point systems for travel.
The Plan For A Weekend Trip To Europe
Keep it cheap and keep it moving. We had a very limited amount of time and even though I was most excited to see old friends that I hadn’t seen in years, packing in every possible activity was super important. From Austria for the wedding to Slovenia to see castles and onto Italy for wine and pizza, it was a whirlwind of a weekend that turned out absolutely perfect!
I searched for weeks for which airport would offer the cheapest round-trip flight within relatively close vicinity to Maria Saal in Austria, which is where my friend would be getting married and was the reason for the entire trip. Settling on Venice as the entry airport and Milan as the departing airport, we were then able to plan accordingly. Check out my other post on my quick stop in Venice for ideas on how to spend a few hours in the city.
Once we decided on which cities and sights we would pack in, the rest sort of fell into place. The biggest decision that needed to be made was the type of transportation we would utilize while abroad. Trains, flights or driving were our choices and while each had their perks, we eventually settled on driving because of the remoteness of the wedding and the freedom of renting a car provides. Check out my other post, Driving In Italy, for how we managed to navigate the roads.
Executing The Itinerary
When you pair up with another seasoned traveler, things tend to flow much more smoothly because we each seem to fall into our respective expertise. I felt confident that our weekend trip to Europe would be
We were able to justify cutting out certain things last minute in lieu of unexpected circumstances because we prepared ourselves for a completely flexible schedule. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my ten years of traveling, its that you don’t have to see everything and when you miss out on something, it just gives you a reason to return. I like to plan ahead by scheduling various excursions before departing, but by avoiding a non-refundable deposit for an activity, you are able to change plans last minute if you find that you are running behind. For example, we scheduled our first wine tour at Ricasoli’s Brolio Castle in the Chianti Classico area for late morning, but did not schedule any other wine tours for the day and rather planned to just stop by for a wine tasting. We ended up staying longer than expected at Ricasoli so we omitted the other wineries that were on our list. We felt that we had experienced a wonderful, yet small, portion of wine country and needed to continue on because of timing.
Depending on your interests, you might need hours at a location or maybe just a few minutes. We stopped by the Leaning Tower of Pisa for approximately two minutes to take a couple of the touristy “holding up the tower” photos before making our way to Genoa for the night. From the quick stop in Pisa, I could tell that this little city has a lot of charm and some beautiful views of Mount Pisano in the distance. Though this was the most stressful part of the drive for me, I do want to return and take some time to explore Pisa in the future.
Looking Back At Our Weekend Trip To Europe
Though this weekend trip to Europe was very rushed, it was still worth it! We had a chance to see and do a ton of things in a very short time. If you can plan ahead and leave yourself wiggle room for random side trips or unforeseen circumstances then you’ll be very satisfied with your trip as you make your way home. Sure there are tons of things that I still want to see and do in the regions we visited, but that just means I’ll have to return someday for another adventure!